A small city called Roi Et in Isan, the northeastern Thailand where remains Thailand's poorest region. It is just near this place, there is a stunning Buddhist pagoda called Phra Maha Chedi Chai Mongkol which means "The Great, Victorious and Auspicious Pagoda". It is one of the largest chedis (pagoda) in Thailand.
This white huge chedi measures 101 meters long, 101 meters wide and 101 meters high built on a plot which is 101 Rai, about 40 acres. Is there a secret of the number of 101? It comes from the name of city Roi Et, which means 101 in Thai. Roi Et used to be a very large and important city in the northeastern Thailand with 11 city gates and 11 satellite cities under its administer. That's the reason why 'Roi Et' is translated to '101'.
The Phra Maha Chedi Chai Mongkhol contains the relics of the Buddha in the top of the pagoda, so it is highly revered in Roi Et.
The pagoda is fairly new in modern style designed by the Department of Fine Arts and was built to serve as a learning center for Buddhist monks. The pagoda is elegantly painted in white and elaborately decorated in gold. There are also other eight smaller pagodas surrounding the chedi. The top of the chedi is an umbrella made from 60kg pure gold. Situated the top of Nam Yoi cliff, when you are right at chedi, you will have a beautiful view of the surrounding rural area.
The chedi's interior
The chedi has all together five floors.
In the wall of the first floor, you can find the names of the people who have donated to build the chedi are engraved in. The hall of the first floor is used for conferences and meetings.
The second floor is decorated with exquisite murals which show scenes of the Buddha's life.
The third floor is used as an ubosort, ordination hall. 101 highly revered monks' marble images are displayed here.
A museum is in the fourth floor for people to learn about the abbot of the temple.
The fifth floor is the top floor where the relics of the Buddha are enshrined.
How to get to Phra Maha Chedi Chai Mongkol
As the Phra Maha Chedi Chai Mongkol is in the remote rural area and the nearest city is Roi Et. Visitors have to arrive in the town first. The public transportation from Roi Et town could be a hassle, and the chedi is about 80km away from the town. So far, the best, most convenient and most comfortable way is to charter an air conditioned car with driver and most hotels have car hire service.
The chedi opens daily from 6:00am to 5:00pm.
Explore Thailand with UME Travel
These itineraries with some visits to the sacred the elegant Thai temples are designed to give you some suggestions for what is possible when you travel to Thailand. They showcase the routes that we've found work very well. Take them as your travel inspiration, because your trip will be designed uniquely for you on your particular interests.